Fantasy author Brian Rush’s article on writing for the fantasy fiction audience is filled with the history of the genre. He helps us see that even if we don’t think we like reading fantasy fiction or don’t ever write it, we actually have some experience with this, in truth, very old genre. Brian’s article is eye opening and you will find encouragement to explore the surprising number of sub-genres in fantasy. After you read Brian’s article, read his blog for more information and for links to his stories. His article might just get your started in a new direction. One of my favorite paragraphs in the article comes near the end when Brian shows us how to think like a fantasy writer taking classics and giving them a fantasy spin.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing: fantasy fiction is fiction. All good fiction has certain characteristics in common that can be summed up as “telling a good story well.” Whether you’re talking about fantasy, science fiction, murder mystery, thriller, war story, romance, or anything else in fiction, the things that matter most are the characters, plot, conflict, theme, language, and creativity.
Despite this, we do divide fiction into categories based on story elements and conventions and typical themes. A murder mystery is a story with a murder in it that presents a mystery to be solved in the course of telling the tale. A romance is a story in which at least two of the characters are involved in a romantic relationship and the complications of their relationship form a substantial part of the plot. A science fiction story is one in which future technology and/or societal development plays a role either in the story itself or in setting the background. In all of these the word “story” is crucial because no matter the genre one must tell a story. But the genre elements are what distinguish this type of story from other types.
A fantasy is a story in which fantastic elements appear. What are fantastic elements?
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